George Pendle’s hoax biography of Millard Fillmore sells okay — but Amazon lists 365,000 books selling better (July 28, 2007). That’s small solace to people who worry, as H. L. Mencken came too late to worry, about how hoaxes may spread. Mark Twain is reputed to have said that a lie can travel around the world twice before the truth can get its boots on.
So I was interested to find that somebody actually has a biography on Fillmore that ventures beyond the usual encyclopedia article. Big Mo’s Presidents Review featured Fillmore on July 15. According to the site, Big Mo is a journalist now stuck (or happy) in the corporate world. The biography is not so long that junior high (8th grade) U.S. history students will find it incredibly onerous, nor is it so short that it merely repeats the same old material. It’s a good report.
The Big Mo report on Fillmore is good enough that other people are copying it wholesale (with attribution).
One gap: Big Mo leaves out discussion of Fillmore’s boyhood, which is one area that students search on frequently, according to the statistics from this blog. I think Fillmore’s early life, his change in careers after he threatened to kill the man he was indentured to if the fellow did not allow him to learn the trade, make some interesting discussion points about Fillmore’s character. Minor quibbles.
On the plus side, he includes just about every image available on the internet, and cartoons about Fillmore, which are deucedly difficult to find in high resolution images.
Fillmore need not be a mystery. Check it out.